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Since You Asked

No details provided on girl's death

We are saddened by the death of Sara Joy Burnson. Living in Ashland, we dealt with her brother, Adam's, tragic death by a drunk driver. Sara passed away on Mother's Day. Was the cause of death ever determined? Or is this a private matter among family members? We are concerned for the family. Is there a reason this has not been published? So many of us care. Thank you for any information you can give us.


S.C., Ashland

Perhaps you missed the Mail Tribune story on May 14 about circumstances surrounding the death of Sara Joy Burnson, a 16-year-old Ashland girl. She died suddenly on May 12, Mother's Day, at Ashland Community Hospital.

As the story noted, she was the younger sister of Adam Burnson, who was 11 in 1994 when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver as he rode his bike on Highway 66 in Ashland.

Hank Collins, director of the county's Health and Human Services Department, declined to release information about the cause of the girl's death, citing public record restrictions.

The state medical examiner, James Olson, did not return several telephone calls seeking information about the case.

The funeral home that handled the arrangements, Litwiller-Simonsen in Ashland, also refused to release information about the cause of death.

Paul Richards, who was acting as a spokesman for the family, said Sara Joy's parents, David Burnson and Katrina Burnson, appreciate the outpouring of concern that has come from the community.

A community celebration of the life of Sara Joy Burnson is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at the North Mountain Avenue Park softball fields, corner of Hersey Street and Mountain Avenue.

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to